Visual Development

Academy of Art University

Master On Campus
36 months
1191 USD/credit
1137 USD/credit
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The Visual Development program of Academy of Art University provides a dynamic education in the art of scene setting.


The Visual Development program of Academy of Art University provides advanced coursework in still life painting, figure drawing, character design, concept painting, layout design for animation, and other core skills of professional visual developers. The goal of each graduate student is the completion of a signature thesis book showcasing design work for a story-based project.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

MFA Thesis Project

  • Present an original thesis concept worthy of the MFA degree
  • Demonstrate the feasibility of their thesis project
  • Produce a professional-standard project, with topical content for the industry, showcasing artistic ability

Artistic Ability

  • Demonstrate strong drawing and compositional skills
  • Create value studies that demonstrate an understanding of lighting, composition, and space

Research and Critical Thinking

  • Apply visual research to design solutions
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the production pipeline by presenting an effective timeline at the Midpoint Review (MPR only)


  • Collaborate effectively to produce creative projects

Visual Development

  • Apply color and design elements consistent with the overall look of the film.
  • Design elements to support the narrative
  • Demonstrate continuity in visual storytelling

Presentation Skills

  • Create visually compelling, professional-quality presentation materials
  • Pitch ideas clearly and professionally

Professional Readiness

  • Produce a professional-level digital and print portfolio suitable for seeking employment within the industry.
  • Demonstrate accountability for planning complex projects, prioritizing tasks and meeting project milestones.


Academy of Art University offers some of the best training and hands-on experience to help accelerate your career. We pride ourselves in doing an exceptional job preparing you to excel as a future visual development artist. Our degree programs are designed to equip aspiring artists and designers with a comprehensive toolbox of marketable skills that lead to success in the visual development industry.

Art Director

The job of the art director is to oversee and unify the visual look of a project. You'll control the overall look of the project, and make creative decisions based on mood, style, and target audience.

Character Designer

As a character and creature designer, you'll help create the standard appearance for a character including poses and gestures.

Concept Artist

Collaborate with creative and art directors to generate images that clarify their vision and create visual representations of the ideas that will be realized in films, animated movies, comics, and video games.

Matte Painter

As a matte painter, you'll create paintings to be used in photography and special effects to combine disparate elements into a single final image.

Production Artist

Working with art directors and designers, production artists are responsible for creating assets across various marking initiates in keeping with the visual style of the product.

Vector Artist

Using standard tools, a vector artist recreates images for high-resolution output for billboards, printing, and 3D modeling.

Programme Structure

Courses include:
  • Figurative Concepts
  • Head Drawing
  • Color Theory
  • History of Visual Development
  • Story Development
  • Clothed Figure Drawing

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 36 months

Start dates & application deadlines




90 alternative credits


On Campus

Academic requirements

We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.

English requirements

IELTS admission requirements IELTS The International English Language Test System (IELTS) tests your English-language proficiency on a scale of 1 – 9. The score refers to the combined average score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading).

Other requirements

General requirements

  • College transcripts must show the classes/subjects, grades, credits and number of hours completed for each class
  • Applicants and sponsors must complete the Affidavit of Support Form
  • An art portfolio in your chosen discipline is required with detailed descriptions for all international graduate school applicants
  • An official bank letter (from student. family/parents/sponsor) must show a minimum balance of $42,000 USD or equivalent
  • We do not require TOEFL or IELTS scores and do not have a minimum score requirement
  • Photocopy of your valid passport
  • Photocopy of your 1-20, 1-94, or other visa document
  • If your transcripts are not in English. they must be translated and notarized

Tuition Fee

  • International

    1191 USD/credit
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 1191 USD per credit and a duration of 36 months.
  • National

    1137 USD/credit
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 1137 USD per credit and a duration of 36 months.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Fresh content

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Check the official programme website for potential updates.

Visual Development
Academy of Art University